Anyone who yells “I know my rights”... invariably does not

Why...

Do people think watching episodes of Law and Order or Judge Judy qualifies them to understand all aspects of the law, when most don’t know their writs from their tits? During my last trip in the aluminium hen coop they call Air Malta, I tilted my chair back a fraction. As some of you know I have had back surgery and sitting bolt upright for three hours is painful. Immediately behind me this beached whale kicked the back of my chair and slapped the top of my head yelling, “I know my rights. Put your chair back in upright position. I have no room.” Rather than get into a huge fight, I simply pulled out a card and gave it to him, whispering, “So, do I”. He shut up. It was not my card, but a lawyer’s card from one of the UK’s top law firms I had recently visited. It read Senior Litigation Partner.

...and another thing

I did a bit of testing on some of the finer points of rights under UK law and common misconceptions are:

It’s illegal to die in Parliament,
It’s legal to murder a Welshman or a Scotsman, provided the circumstances are sufficiently unlikely,
It’s illegal to damage an image of the Queen,
It’s legal for pregnant women to relieve themselves in a policeman’s helmet,
Couples are financially protected in case of separation by common law marriage and
You must be read your Miranda Rights before being questioned.

Sorry. None are true.

...and another thing

However, there are times when being a smart arse seems to work.

Whilst I was at school there was a famous story of a student at Oxford taking his finals. In the middle of the exam he slammed his fist on his desk and yelled out,
“I demand my cakes and ale.”

When told to shut up he stormed out. The next day he went to see the Dean and showed him a by-law that stated all students were entitled to cakes and ale. Failure to provide would entitle the student to a first-class pass.

Two days later the Dean called him back.

“As someone studying law, I congratulate you on finding this arcane by-law. The good news is we have to pass you. The bad news is we are fining you 20 gold sovereigns for not wearing a sword.”

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2 Comments

  1. Magda says:

    I read “bleached whale” 😉 therefore I was imagining a very large and thick coloured blond woman behind you (a bit like La Castafiore in Tintin ) in the plane 😉

    Argh…So you had problems with your lumber vertebra or discs as we say in French ? Hope you are well and enjoying Life with your Lady, puppies and family.

    I will send more comments on some of your older writings, and I cannot not wait to read the book. I just hope that my favourite producers, the ones I worked with in the past and that I haven’t seen for a long time will enjoy life for many many more years 😉

  2. Peter says:

    Well done for pointing out there is no such thing as common law marriage in the UK. A real misconception by vast amounts of the public which clearly indicates to me at 17.4 million people could be equally wrong!